EU Science Hub

How do production, consumption and trade affect resources and pollution?

Jan 22 2013

Which country in the world has the biggest carbon footprint? How many emissions are released in China to produce goods consumed elsewhere? How much water is used in Brazil to support consumption in the US? Which countries lead in the extraction of resources worldwide? To what extent is land used by Japan enough to satisfy its consumption level?

The JRC has just published a series of indicators on "global resources use and pollution", aimed to provide answers to these, and other relevant questions.

Based on different analyses derived from the FP7-funded project World Input-Output Database (WIOD), data provide information describing the use of natural resources and the emission of air pollutants around the world, in relation to production, consumption and trade activities. The time frame covered is the period between 1995 and 2008, and the geographical scope includes the EU-27 Member States plus Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, the United States and the rest of the world.

The information presented provides a holistic approach to the analysis of the global environmental impacts by linking consumption and production activities, and taking into account the international flows of goods and services. In this regard, the publication includes three groups of indicators. The 'production' indicators report on the use of resources as primary inputs (i.e. domestic extraction of materials or land cultivated) and the emissions directly generated by national economic activities for each country. The 'consumption' or 'footprint' indicators show the resources or pollution embedded in the domestic final demand of one country, regardless of where these resources/emissions were used/emitted. Finally, the 'trade' indicators show how resources and pollution are embodied in international trade.

Data are presented in two pocket books; the first one presents the global evolution of each indicator, and the second shows a series of country factsheets.

These publications have been compiled in response to the increasing need for comprehensive datasets with reliable and comparable economic and environmental information that contribute to a better understanding of different environmental issues such as resource scarcity, climate change, environmental degradation, or the inequalities regarding access to natural resources across countries.